During the June 2008 premiere of Gunnin’ For That #1 Spot, I got one-on-one time with soft-spoken Beastie Boys rapper Adam Yauch, whose life was cut short yesterday at age 47 after a long battle with cancer.
The man who directed the basketball documentary leaves behind wife Dechen and daughter Tenzin, whom he cherishes in this interview that took place outside on a balmy summer night in NYC.
You had your first hit in the 1980s. What advice would you give celebrities about staying in the business? You’ve had a really long career.
Be true to your school.
What do you mean by that?
I don’t know, I just thought it sounded like a good quote, something to say. I have no idea. My advice for them is "just keep doing what you’re doing," which is also in itself a good quote.
What’s your most prized possession from the Beastie Boys heyday?
We still have the giant hydraulic penis in storage. We have that, in case we ever need it. I don’t know that we would call it a prized possession, but we do have it, if needed. We were actually thinking about mailing it to the White House in Washington, D.C., to George Bush as a gift, but we haven’t gotten around to it yet. I suppose if we’re going to do it, we don’t have that much time left.
Who’s your dream collaboration on your next album? Which young star would you like to work with and why?
I’d be happy to work with [bandmates] Adam [Horovitz] and Mike [Diamond]. I like working with them.
Favorite ABBA song?
I don’t really have a favorite ABBA song, but the first one that comes to mind is Dancing Queen. I had it on a ringtone when I was in Japan at one point. That was nice.
I don’t know. I mean, I’m a father. I have a daughter. I don’t know that proud is the right word. But most psyched moment. It was right up there, when she was born.
What do you love about being a dad?
She’s a great kid. I love hanging out with her, spending time.
What is she into these days?
She’s into playing soccer and drawing.
With that, he headed inside the Magic Johnson Theatre, where he mingled with then-NBA hopefuls – and twins! – Brook and Robin Lopez, who were drafted the next day. Brook went to the New Jersey Nets and Robin was chosen by the Phoenix Suns.
Adam was diagnosed with cancer the following year.
May he rest in peace.